Jury in murder re-trial sequestered following first day of deliberations

Robert Bowman listening to closing arguments / Tim Wening/WNWO

According to the Toledo Blade, jurors in the murder re-trial against Robert Bowman were sequestered Thursday night after failing to reach a verdict in the case.

The newspaper said that following 9 hours of deliberations, the jury was ordered to reconvene in Friday morning at 9 a.m.

Thursday morning attorneys presented closing arguements in the case.

According to a report by the AP, the prosecutor said Bowman revealed details, in talks with detectives, that showed he knew more about what happened to a 14-year-old Toledo-area schoolgirl killed in 1967 than they did.

The body of Eileen Adams, of Sylvania Township, was found dumped in Monroe County, Michigan about a month after her disappearence.

Robert Bowman is accused of snatching Adams, a freshman who was on her way home from her Toledo high school, and holding her captive in his basement for days before killing her. The case stumped detectives for decades until they took another look at it just five years ago.

Bowman, who's now 75, faces life in prison if convicted. Jurors in August couldn't reach a unanimous verdict after several weeks of testimony.

Prosecutors said during closing arguments that DNA evidence from the victim's clothing and testimony from the suspect's ex-wife, who said she saw the girl tied up in their basement, proved Bowman's guilt. They also said Bowman told detectives intimate details about how the girl was tied up when she found dead.

"If he hadn't killed her, why did he remember so much?" said assistant Lucas County prosecutor John Weglian.

Bowman took the witness stand this week, but did not testify at his first trial.

This time he accused detectives and his ex-wife of making up stories about him.

His attorney told jurors that the memories of at least two witnesses didn't match the stories told by police and prosecutors.

The defense also questioned the credibility of Bowman's ex-wife, Margaret Bowman, who said she found the girl alive in their basement fruit cellar with her arms outstretched and bound, tape covering her mouth. She said her former husband yelled at her after she came out of the basement: "Now I have to kill her."

Margaret Bowman didn't go to police until 14 years after the girl was killed and stayed with her husband for many years after that, moving with him to Florida, Arizona and Nevada, said Peter Rost, Robert Bowman's attorney.

"She could have told anybody at any time," he said.

Prosecutors said that Margaret Bowman had nothing to gain by going to police and that she knew no one would believe her because she had a severe drinking problem.

"She drank to forget every day," Weglian said.

Prosecutors said they don't know when or how the girl ended up in the basement. They also couldn't tell jurors whether the girl was strangled or beaten to death by blows to the head.

"It makes no difference," Weglian said.

Bowman had been a successful businessman before disappearing in the 1980s into a life on the streets in Florida and California.

He had owned a business that made high-end purses in Florida and sold them in Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue stores. But when police detectives tracked him down to Florida in 1982, he was living in an abandoned restaurant, wearing a tattered shirt and jeans and a scruffy beard.

Hanging from the restaurant ceiling were three dolls, some with their feet bound with string. A nail had been driven into the head of two dolls - eerily similar to how a hunter had found Eileen's body.